2.4   THE MOMENT OF DEATH

Inevitably the flesh dies.   Whether from disease, physical trauma, or the withering decay of age, the body can hold out only so long.  At some point the heart stops, the brain ceases to function, and perception ends.

There is no real pain in death.  Indeed their may be a great deal of suffering in the moments proceeding the final breath, but at the end the soul is cut off from external stimulation and retreats into the contemplative essence of itself.  A sense of relief and of a great weight being lifted away is often what this soul feels.  In these moments, the soul often reflects on the lessons (if any) it has learned through life, and it clings to the cherished memories of the past.   

Sometimes, the pull of loved ones or the driving goal to accomplish an unfulfilled dream is enough for the soul to rebel against death.  It attempts to spark the engine of life once more, as it did the first time it was introduced into the body.   If the flesh is still strong enough to receive this spark, life resumes.  This is a rare occurrence, and these near-death experiences often leave the physical form with a greater sense of purpose and a better understanding of the wondrous nature of the universe. 

The soul does not immediately leave its vessel at the moment of death.   It remains trapped by the emptiness within, no longer able to experience the material world around it.   Help is needed for the soul to be free and to drift to its natural place in the afterlife.   This help comes in the form of psychopomps.

The duty of the psycopomp is to search out the recently dead and liberate their souls.   All angels of this order have the ability to sense all dead children of clay who are nearby.   The range of this power is determined by their grace score.    More information on the roll of psychopomps can be found in the original sourcebook.

Things can go wrong, though.  Sometimes the soul will get trapped on Earth and become a ghost.   Other times, no psycopomp comes to free it from it prison and the flesh reanimates as one of the walking dead. These issues will be discussed later.


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